Take 5: Five Quick-n-Dirty Composite Effects
Think that compositing is too complicated, too expensive or too computer-intensive for you? Think again. You don’t need fancy gear to make cool composites, just a little imagination and a few transition effects.

Creating these two-layer composite effects is easy. Chances are that all you need is the editing program you already own. Simply overlap two shots on your timeline, then stretch the desired transition effect between them to the same length (see left). Set the effect properties to begin and end at the desired setting, render and play. Here are five quick and dirty composites you can create right now.

1. Split Screen – Show two sides of a telephone conversation, or fake a bi-coastal news interview with this split-screen transition.



    Clips needed: 1) Shot of one person framed on the left side of the screen. 2) Shot of another person (at a different location) framed on the right side of the screen.

    Effect to use: Vertical wipe

    Transition start/stop: 50%.

    Tips: Apply a black edge to the wipe to separate the shots more clearly.

2. Telescope – Simulate a peek through a spyglass with this easy overlay.


    Clips needed: 1) Shot of the person or thing being ‘scoped. 2) A black clip.

    Effect to use: Circle wipe or iris

    Transition start/stop: 45%

    Tips: Layer the black clip over the video of your subject.

3. Letter Box – Fake a film-style aspect ratio to make your video look more like a major motion picture.



    Clips needed: 1) Rendered AVI file of your finished project. 2) A black clip.

    Effect to use: Horizontal barndoor wipe

    Transition start/stop: 65%

    Tips: Add this effect after you have finished editing your project and compressed the project into a single file. Layer the black clip over your video.

4. Ghost – Make a ghostly video apparition.


    Clips needed: 1) Shot of subject in a room. 2) Shot of the same room without the subject.

    Effect to use: Dissolve or crossfade

    Transition start/stop: 40%

    Tips: Lock the camera on a tripod when shooting. Make sure that it does not move so that the background in shot 1 matches shot 2 exactly.

5. Shoulder Box/Picture-in-picture – Dress up your news show with an over-the-shoulder box.


    Clips needed: 1) Newscaster framed slightly to one side of the screen. 2) Still image or video for box.

    Effect to use: Zoom

    Transition start/stop: 40%

    Tips: Adjust the positioning of the zoom and the transition percentage to fit the box over your talent’s shoulder. Use the border tool to add a colored outline to your box.

[Sidebar: Note]
These examples were created using Adobe Premiere. While you can create these effects with most any timeline-based editing program, your interface may look different.

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